I've been thinking so much of my friend whose baby, Brenna, died just before Christmas. This morning in the shower it struck me how unusual it is that we say someone has "lost" their baby. We always say it in hushed tones, "It's so awful, she lost her baby."
Somehow, that's such a soft way of saying it - for us. For those of us who didn't "lose" our baby...we say this word because it is so much less stark than saying "Her baby died."
But the reality is stark.
There is starkness in an empty nursery that once seemed so warm and glowing with expectation. There's the car seat that never was taken from the box in the garage. The carefully folded up pink and lavender gift bags from the shower a few weeks before. The milk that came in so painfully the day after she was born, that hurts as warm compresses are applied rather than being relieved by a searching, snuffling newborn. The recovery from nine months of growing and changing to accommodate that little creature for whom you'd eagerly made room within the safety of your own body. The returning to "normal" after birth without anything being normal anymore.
I think of my friend who has retreated to cope and heal from birth, but who must wonder if this is a hurt that will really ever heal. Who, in the time between the birth and the funeral, had to return to the hospital to hold her baby because she couldn't bear the thought of her being alone or cold. I wish for the right words that might bring some measure of relief or comfort, and feel inadequate to the task.
I ache for her loss. Especially because her baby isn't lost; my friend knows exactly where Brenna is. She just can't reach her. And I can't think of anything more stark than a mother who can't reach her child.
I may not have anything else I can give that will help a mother in such distress, but maybe it will at least matter that I get it that this isn't something she just needs time to "get over." And why do we require that someone get over the death of a child? Should we really ask that of someone? What does getting over a child entail? Forgetting? Not noticing the empty spaces that child was meant to fill?
My friend will likely never get over Brenna nor do I expect she wants to; she'll just find a way to keep living. And she will need to know that those of us in her life will always remember that she has two children: one precious, bright little guy who is witty and endearing, and a sweet little girl that we didn't get the chance to know.
I'm so sorry, my sweet friend. Take your time.
Love from the farm,